Yesterday we read in I Samuel 26 – “25Then Saul said to David, ‘May you be blessed, David my son; you will do great things and surely triumph.’ So David went on his way, and Saul returned home. There was no reason for David to trust Saul — and he doesn’t!
David makes plans to escape from Saul, convinced that one day Saul will destroy him. So he and his 600 men go over to Achish son of Maok king of Gath. David had already fled to Achish back in chapter 21 (when he had pretended to be insane). Gath, of course, was the hometown of Goliath!
David’s plan worked. He and his men settled with their families in Gath with Achish. David had his two wives (Ahinoam and Abigail). And Saul stopped searching for David (v. 4).
David humbly asks Achish for a country town to live in, saying, “Why should your servant live in the royal city with you?” (v. 5). Achish gave David Ziklag and David lived in that Philistine territory a year and four months.
Raiding various people groups, David and his men killed all the men and women but took the plunder of their victories (vv. 8-9). Upon request David would report to Achish where he had raided, being careful not to leave a man or woman alive who could report to Achish what David did. This was David’s practice as long as he lived in Philistine territory. Achish trusted David (sounds like he should not have!) and said to himself, “He has become so obnoxious to his people, the Israelites, that he will be my servant for life” (v. 12).
What’s going on here? It appears to me that David asked for a country town to live in, away from the royal city, so he and his men could raid various people groups without Achish knowing about it. David describes the groups they raided as if they were Israelite areas (“the Negev of Judah”, etc.). This causes Achish to say that David has become obnoxious to his people.
Some takeaways for me:
1. Spirituality does not equal gullibility. David makes plans to get away from the murderous efforts of Saul to separate his head from his body!
2. In a broad sense, church leaders are to have a good reputation with those who are “outside” the church. David is on good terms with Achish and that relationship provides David and his men somewhere safe to live.
3. The believer in Jesus is both a fragrance and a stench. The Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians2: “14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? 17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.” This is an amazing passage, for all of us would prefer to be a fragrance, rather than a stench! We will have an olfactory impact on all we meet today — to some as a fragrance of life, to others as a stench of death!